NOAH: The Drinking Game

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By:Aaron D. Wolf | April 08, 2014

First, a quick summary of all of the positive reviews by Christian thinkers of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, starring Russell Crowe: The movie Noah is a great conversation starter [shot!]. Like all Hollywood biblical epics, including the Mel Gibson one, the film gets a few things wrong [shot!], but it offers us a great opportunity to have a dialog [shot!] with unchurched people about the Bible and engage the culture [shot!]. It is a Midrash [shot!] on the Genesis story, and unlike most “Christian” films, it has high production values [shot!].  When Hollywood makes Great Art [shot!], we shouldn’t run and hide like nitpicking fundamentalists [shot!].


Now, in order for you to play my drinking game, I must take you to a scene from a few years back.  Don’t worry if you haven't played before: You will catch on eventually.



RANDFORD HIPSMITH, 20s, sits down at the counter next to his friend, CHURCHY MAGEE, 20s.

So there’s this movie coming out soon that tells the story of Jesus, based on the Bible.

Awesome! We should take the youth group.

Right!  So from what I’ve read, it really shows the agony Jesus endured on the cross, and emphasizes the fact that He went there willingly, that He chose to die for us.  That is so key for our gnostic-leaning age–I mean His full, true humanity.  Jesus was no demigod or superman; He felt pain as we do, bled as we do, faced the same trials and temptations we do.  Oh! And this film has high production values, big-named Hollywood stars and a big-named Hollywood director.  Obviously, as a movie, it has to take a little license—

. . . of course . . .

—and go beyond the bare text of the Bible.  Dialog and character development and flashbacks—you have to have those!  And obviously, whenever a movie goes beyond the text of Scripture, it runs the risk of offending "some people" and of getting one or two things wrong . . . you understand this is a full-blown major motion picture, right?

A movie like that can be a great conversation starter!

Well, let’s say . . . I mean, keep in mind again that we want to emphasize that Jesus was fully human, tempted as we are, and so what if—

CHURCHY, suddenly uneasy
Yes . . . ?

—the movie had Jesus on the cross, tempted to think about what it would be like to come down and live a normal life instead of dying.  Like it says, to “save Himself” if He really is the Son of God.  So He imagines that He actually comes down and eventually marries Mary Magdalene . . . you know . . . and that would suggest, I mean just briefly, from what I read, they show the two of them—

CHURCHY, indignant
THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL.  My friend, that is blasphemy.

Hold on, Churchy.  What is the big—why is that necessarily “blasphemy”?

I can’t believe you’d even have to ask.

No, but THINK for a minute.  Jesus was tempted, right?  Think of this movie like a commentary—what scholars call a Midrash—on the fact that Jesus, as a man, even as a righteous man, was human.  It’s not in the Bible in so many words, but remember, in a movie they have to flesh things out.

But Jesus wasn’t just fully human.  He was—He is—God in the flesh.

So what?  Why does that make it blasphemy, especially if He’s just imagining it, and doesn’t actually go through with it?

Because God, even when He is tested, cannot have sinful thoughts.  To depict God as acting wickedly is obscene.  That’s not a “conversation starter” that anyone, especially a layman, needs.


You’re saying the movie shows God doing things He would not do—the opposite of what He said He’d do.  That’s wickedness.  That’s obscenity.

In the abstract, that might be technically true, but not in the context of the film.

CHURCHY, incredulous
Are we actually having this conversation?!  This is not a minor detail.  If what you’re saying’s true, this movie contradicts the essence of our entire Faith!

I’m sorry—are we all of a sudden fundamentalist literalists, incapable of engaging the culture at all?

The essence of the Faith is that God is faithful to His Word and that He remembers those who trust Him.  It’s the story of the ENTIRE BIBLE.  Start with the Patriarchs: They “called on the name of the LORD,” and it was their duty to preserve God’s Word, and pass it down from generation to generation–from Adam to Seth, to Enoch and Methuselah and Lamech.  It’s the same Faith that Noah kept when he walked with God, made sacrifices to the LORD, and was the last man left on earth who was declared righteous.  Which is why Noah preached and the Flood waters were a symbol of—

You are talking way over most people’s heads.  This is a movie, and it makes people think, which is the purpose of Great Art.

I’m sorry—I can’t go on.  The room is spinning.




Soldiers Grove
4/10/2014 08:40 PM

  Bravo! I haven't seen the movie but I have heard these sorts of spewings from those who really really really really want to like this movie. By the way, it reminds me a lot of this review, which had the same idea about another blasphemy of sorts: JOB


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